Key West, FL
||Tropical... warm! Warmer than home!
Only 90 miles from Cuba and 150 from Miami, Key West is truly the end of the line. In a 1940 Saturday Evening Post article, Thelma Strabel wrote of Key West, "There is nothing for restless people to do. It is quiet and careless and charming." Half a century later, you'll find that Key West's charm has remained, though the pace of life has picked up quite a bit. Key West has become a place where people escape from the rat race to join the race for the freest, the "funnest" and the most flamboyant. What other place has more bars — along with more churches — per capita than anywhere else in the country?
If you prefer a more solitary vacation, you can spend your days dozing in a hammock between two palms, and your nights listening to the gentle hum of insects and the far-away beat of a reggae band. Or, if you're like most visitors, you'll take it easy during the day, enjoying the beach or Key West's shops and attractions, and spend your nights partying in its bars and nightclubs, most of which are clustered along the main strip of Duval Street.
Whatever your choice, you'll find Key West is an island that never stops. Sunset in Key West is more than a time of day; it's a happening — a special time when hundreds of people gather on the docks at Mallory Square along with musicians, entertainers and vendors. Ernest Hemingway made his home in Key West for more than 10 years, writing, frequenting local bars or fishing. Tour his home, surrounded by exotic plants and scores of the cats that the writer loved.
About 70 miles (113 km) west of Key West, accessible by scheduled ferry service or chartered seaplane, lies the beautiful Dry Tortugas Islands and Fort Jefferson National Monument. The Dry Tortugas are a natural wonder, known for the great variety of wildlife. Divers and nature lovers will enjoy the area for its staghorn coral, French angelfish, loggerhead turtles and rare birds.
Key West, the southernmost point of the United States, embraces a fascinating mix of history, eccentricity and lush island charm. Civil War era forts, famous writer's homes, sidewalk cafés, and outrageous folks all add to the atmosphere of life on island time.